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Winter 2015

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Last year at this time, following a 32% surge for the S&P 500, we noted that of the nine strongest years since 1947 in which returns averaged 25%, the gains in the 12 months following averaged 13.9%. While at the time it seemed hard to imagine another positive year, this historical perspective proved remarkably accurate as the S&P 500 logged a 13.7% total return in 2014—price appreciation plus dividends. The strength in the U.S. equity market wasn’t necessarily reflected around the world as Emerging Markets, strained by the worst year for commodities since 2008, were flat and Developed International Markets dipped over 6%.

As has been the theme throughout most of the rally that began in 2009, U.S. stocks led global equity markets in 2015. Corporate earnings growth, our domestic economy finally gaining traction and a lack of appeal for low-yielding asset classes (cash and bonds) coupled with geopolitical and economic uncertainty within international markets, helped fuel demand and exemplary returns for U.S.-focused strategies...

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